Socrates suggested that we should know first of all ourselves.
But we also exist as a function of the relationships that we have with others and knowing their point of view does not mean to know even more a part of ourselves? A statement that seems to me even more important in the era of social media, community management and relationship marketing, where sometimes we write without thinking of those reading…
In the video below Roman Krznaric proposes the idea of Outrospection. I found some useful tips to explore the themes that emerged during the class I followed last summer on design thinking. Empathy as a tool and as a useful approach in the context of problem definition:
Empathy as a social tool:
A new attitude
The transition is from the typical attitude of the past century, the self-help era (looking inward to improve themselves), to going out from ourselves instead, where there are the things that really matter.
The basic suggestion is to be less introspective and more outrospective.
In the dictionary, there are two definitions of empathy :
The first type is a shared emotion response, for example, that you get if you imitate to perfection the pained expression of a child.
The other is a cognitive perspective, a step into the others’ shoes to see things with their eyes, their beliefs , etc. .
This in order to overcome the labels we give to people and not to get confused or misled by our beliefs. Attitude that, according to the author, has been used by Orwell from the beginning of his career, feeding his desire and curiosity to understand others better, eventually making you feel better, more in touch with people, more connected and conscious.
Not only an individual issue
Very empathic people know how to listen.
Here is an example of The Parent Circle, an organization that brings together Israeli-palestinian relatives of people who have lost their lives in the long conflict between the two nations.
The project has highlighted how in the end the pain is the same for both sides.
It is not just an individual matter, but can be absolutely collective.
The author points out that the whole story is studded with large spikes of empathy, as well as great depths.
For example, the abolition of slavery in the United Kingdom (1807!) in the end was inspired by the attitude of empathic Thomas Clarkson, who made perceive the terrible condition and the devastated feelings of the slaves.
How often do we speak or hear speaking ill of the others’ behavior, politicians or colleagues, without putting ourselves in their shoes. The learning here is that only if you have done this, you can develop strategies of transformation and change, especially social.
Aim for empathy
According to the author, to bring out this tool the human intellect, it should perhaps be celebrated explicitly in society. For example dedicating institutions or creating a space, a sort of human library, where you can choose a person and “speak”.
An interesting tool for understanding the problem of modern slavery is: slaveryfootprint.org